Achilles Tendonitis is
an inflammation of the Achilles Tendon. This tendon attaches the muscles in the calf of the leg to the back of our heels. The Achilles Tendon is a long and thick tendon, which moves our foot down, so
that the toes point to the ground (plantar flexion). This tendon can become inflamed due to the following causes. Over utilizing it, such as too much running, especially up or down hill. Trauma, such
as a kick to the tendon. Shoe or boot pressure, especially at its attachment to the heel, or just above it. There are over 250,000 injuries to the Achilles Tendon annually. In fact, more Than 10% of
all running injuries are to the Achilles tendon. Tendonitis may be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute Achilles Tendonitis comes on quickly, usually after a specific activity or event. It is
characterized by an overstretching or tearing of some of the small fibers of the tendon, and causes pain or tenderness when walking or running. It can occur at the insertion (near the attachment to
the heel bone, or further up the leg, about 4 or 5 inches above the heel. Acute tendonitis can also follow a specific injury, such as a kick to the tendon while playing soccer. Chronic Achilles
Tendonitis develops gradually over time. Many times, you can feel an obvious thickening of the tendon that may be tender when squeezed, due to long standing scarring of the tendon. Pain is also
present when walking or during other forms of activity, and feels better at rest.
Achilles tendonitis most commonly occurs due to repetitive or prolonged activities placing strain on the Achilles tendon. This typically occurs due to excessive walking, running or jumping
activities. Occasionally, it may occur suddenly due to a high force going through the Achilles tendon beyond what it can withstand. This may be due to a sudden acceleration or forceful jump. The
condition may also occur following a calf or Achilles tear, following a poorly rehabilitated sprained ankle or in patients with poor foot biomechanics or inappropriate footwear. In athletes, this
condition is commonly seen in running sports such as marathon, triathlon, football and athletics.
Mild ache in the back of the lower leg, especially after running. More acute pain may occur after prolonged activity, Tenderness or stiffness in the morning. In most cases the pain associated with
Achilles tendinitis is more annoying than debilitating, making sufferers regret activity after the fact, but not keeping them from doing it. More severe pain around the Achilles tendon may be a
symptom of a much more serious ruptured tendon.
Laboratory studies usually are not necessary in evaluating and diagnosing an Achilles tendon rupture or injury, although evaluation may help to rule out some of the other possibilities in the
differential diagnosis. Imaging studies. Plain radiography: Radiographs are more useful for ruling out other injuries than for ruling in Achilles tendon ruptures. Ultrasonography: Ultrasonography of
the leg and thigh can help to evaluate the possibility of deep venous thrombosis and also can be used to rule out a Baker cyst; in experienced hands, ultrasonography can identify a ruptured Achilles
tendon or the signs of tendinosis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRI can facilitate definitive diagnosis of a disrupted tendon and can be used to distinguish between paratenonitis, tendinosis,
Relieving the stress is the first course of action. Treatment involves ice therapy and activity modification to reduce inflamation. Active stretching and strengthening exercises will assist
rehabilitation of the gastrocnemius-soleus complex. When placed in a heeled shoe, the patient will immediately notice a difference, compared to flat ground. It is recommended that the patient be
fitted with proper shoes & orthotics to control pronation and maintain proper alignment, relieving the stress on the achilles tendon. Tightness in the tendon itself can be helped by an extra heel
lift added to the orthotics. The patient can expect a slow recovery over a period of months.
There are two types of Achilles repair surgery for tendonitis (inflammation of the Achilles Tendon), if nonsurgical treatments aren't effective. Gastrocnemius recession - The orthopaedic surgeon
lengthens the calf muscles to reduce stress on your Achilles tendon. D?bridement and repair - During this procedure, the surgeon removes the damaged part of the Achilles tendon and repairs the
remaining tendon with sutures or stitches. Debridement is done when the tendon has less than 50% damage.
The following measures can significantly reduce the risk of developing Achilles tendonitis. Adequately stretch and warm up prior to exercise. Warm down and stretch after exercise. Choose footwear
carefully and use footwear appropriate to the sport being undertaken. Use orthotic devices in footwear to correctly support the foot. Exercise within fitness levels and follow a sensible exercise
programme. Develop strong, flexible calf muscles.